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Thread: A refreshing and easy to make drink

  1. #1
    Senior Member NightShade's Avatar
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    Default A refreshing and easy to make drink

    while I was out walking today I came across someStaghorn sumac.. I gathered a couple of sections of the fruit...leaving plenty behind of course... when i got home, i boiled the fruits for about 20 min...strained the mixture, chilled the juice and then enjoyed!!!... tastes similar to a rasberry lemonade and very good!!!
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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    funny you should mention this, was meaning to talk about this. in some areas there might be someone out there right now looking at a sumac tree and saying "how the heck is he gettin them thar berries" and i say this becuase i am from the st lawrence/great lakes forest region, but as i headed 6 hours south of me a couple of weeks ago i noticed lots of sumacs and by the time i got to tornto the tree were just that trees not bushes like here, now toronto in in the carolinian forest area, struck me kind of funny to see this obvious difference made me wonder about others
    also my freind it might be important to point out why you strained the bearries after boiling them, and that reason is ,is if you look at the berries closely they are awefully hairy so when you boil them and then strain them thru cheescloth then it gets rid of the tiny hairs that can irritate your throat, small detail but an important one
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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    Just be sure it is the Staghorn sumac Rhus typhina, Smooth Sumac R.glabra, Dwarf or Winged Sumac R. copallina, and not the poison sumac R. vernix. Just remember the saying "berries white,poisonous sight" (I'm including this for others not the two of you). Poison Sumac is worse than poison Ivy.... Just sayin'....

    Note: for those not familiar with botanical terms - When all plants being discussed(as here) are in the SAME Family, the Family scientific name is often abbreviated. The second part of the Scientific name is ALWAYS lower case. If it is abbreviated then a singular specie is sp. plural species is spp. they should always be Italicized(Not necessary but is Proper).

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    quite right poco, it always helps and is a great idea to spell it all out, although we may know which sumac we are refering to some may not, as i said above, its all in the deatails.
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
    http://wareaglesurvival.blogspot.com

  5. #5

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    We have loads of Sumac around here. Several varieties big and small. It's hard to find the berries in their peak as it seems the rain washes em out and some plants maybe just don't have the high C content of others. I made up a few batches and the color and flavor varied greatly between plants. I just soaked mine in cold water and strained thru a paper coffee filter. Thayer's book suggests that boiling destroys the vitamin C and can allow the tannins in the stems to leach out in the water making it bitter or untasty.

    It's good stuff if you get the berries at their peak.

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    Senior Member NightShade's Avatar
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    yea I can tell you from experience if you boil too long it definetly gets a bittery taste from the tannins.... another way to make it is putting it out in sun like ice tea but takes longer.... personally my favorite way to have it, is right off the tree.. I'm usually hiking and dont have the time to boil and prepare it, though sometimes (like yesterday) I'll shove some in my pocket to bring home... what I'll do is just take a small bit , toss it in my mouth and suck out the juices, then I'll chew it for awhile like tobacco, and I eventually spit it out, get the nutrients and flavor w/o the itchy throat... IMHO the stuff is way better than any commercially available candy..


    And yes... please don't eat poison sumac.. they're really not easily confused except at blossoming time.... but I suppose if you read this and really didn't know anything....... Just don't eat poison sumac!!!... I haven't tried it but i'd bet it's not nearly as refreshing!!!
    "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Patrick Henry

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    Senior Member NightShade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wareagle69 View Post
    funny you should mention this, was meaning to talk about this. in some areas there might be someone out there right now looking at a sumac tree and saying "how the heck is he gettin them thar berries" and i say this becuase i am from the st lawrence/great lakes forest region, but as i headed 6 hours south of me a couple of weeks ago i noticed lots of sumacs and by the time i got to tornto the tree were just that trees not bushes like here, now toronto in in the carolinian forest area, struck me kind of funny to see this obvious difference made me wonder about others
    also my freind it might be important to point out why you strained the bearries after boiling them, and that reason is ,is if you look at the berries closely they are awefully hairy so when you boil them and then strain them thru cheescloth then it gets rid of the tiny hairs that can irritate your throat, small detail but an important one
    Yea I've read that they get up to 30 feet but personally I don't see them that big around here too often... yea sometimes..but usually there in the 6 - 12 ft range around here... actually some are even smaller...
    "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Patrick Henry

    A quest for knowledge is never complete.

    The only easy day was yesterday.

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    This is another of those folk misconceptions: all sumacs are sumac and you dont mess with them. I went to explore around some new ponds yesterday and along one of the roads we came across acres upon acres of Dwarf sumac trees full of berries. I bet I could see a mile in any direction and the place was almost overrun by them.

    Everything I had learned as a kid told me not to touch anything on the tree because it is sumac (my dad can look at poison ivy from 10 feet away and break out in a rash) but I waysided my fears and grabbed a berry bunch or two. I tasted one of the berries immediately and was quite surprised by the bittersweet taste. Arriving home in the evening, I set about making the tea as described in several guides (and of course online info to be sure) and had a taste. Mildly aromatic with strong acidic flavor. added a bit of sugar and it was delicious!!

    The end of muscadine season (one of my favorite things every year to eat) is apparently the beginning of sumac season. So I have one more thing to add to my arsenal of foraging knowledge.

    Dwarf or "winged" sumac looks very similar to staghorn, but much smaller as trees go, and has the tell-tale winged midrib. This time of year the leaves are turning reddish, the berries are ripe and the underbrush is subsiding. Anyone interested in learning to forage should definately learn this plant.

    I just have one question about this: What did people 300 years ago use as sweetener? Sugar cane has been almost wiped out in this area so it's becoming a rarity to find in the woods, and lets face it.. even lemonade needs a little sweetening.

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